Island of Dr. Moreau, The
Reviewed by Jenny LeComte
Rating: 8 Beans
he gruesome pictures of eyeballs, blood vessels and the inside of somebody's esophogus (courtesy of "guts cam") signalled a truly horrifying viewing experience. So did the spooky music and the fact that this movie was based on a novel by sci-fi writer extraordinare HG Wells. I made sure all the doors were locked, dug my fingernails into the armchair and prepared to be truly terrified.
I was. As soon as Val Kilmer came into view, I started to scream. Aieeee! Julia Roberts may have earned the nickname "Tinkerhell'' for her histrionics on the "Hook'' set, but Kilmer's middle name is "difficult". Just thinking about the forms of purgatory Kilmer must have devised for the poor extras on this set made the hairs on the back of my neck rise.
In "The Island of Dr Moreau", Kilmer plays Montgomery, a "brilliant neurosurgeon'' who teams up with the movie's namesake, a Nobel prize-winning scientist. Both live on a "mysterious South Pacific island" which looks very much like North Queensland in Australia. Hey, it IS North Queensland! I'd recognise that place anywhere.
Montgomery rescues Edward Douglas (David Thewlis), an English plane crash survivor who he finds floating on a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and brings him to North Queens...oops, sorry, the "mysterious island".
Douglas checks out the scene - and Montgomery - and thinks to himself "hey, something's not quite right here...this place is bizarre, and this bloke isn't the full quid.'' Bingo. North Queens...oops, the "mysterious island''...is like some sort of satanic laboratory where Montgomery and Dr Moreau get their kicks by fusing animals and humans.
Their dubious DNA meddling has upset the entire eco-system of the island and created a host of strange creatures. One poor unfortunate looks like an extra from "Planet of the Apes'' with a sheep's head stuck on top. Another resembles Chewbacca after a bad acid trip.
After stumbling upon the secret lab and viewing the genetic horrors within, Douglas thinks: "Hey, man, I'm outta here.'' Montgomery, however, is reluctant to let him go. And so is the island's most graphic monstrosity, the man known as Dr Moreau.
How can I put it into words? Imagine a corpulent Marlon Brando sitting on a sedan chair, wearing a cheesecloth caftan. His face is covered in talcum powder, he's got an ice bucket and surgical guaze on his head and he peers ghoulishly through the mosquito net. Around his neck, he is wearing a device which looks like a cross between a Tamagotchi and a mayor's ceremonial necklace. And when he raises his fat, liver-spotted hands...HE'S WEARING WHITE RUBBER GLOVES!
After I saw that scene, I was paralysed. Not with terror, but with laughter. The tears were pouring down my cheeks. I had a stitch in my side. I was slapping my legs with mirth. And when Brando spoke, and I heard that fake British "jolly good show'' accent, that just about slayed me.
Brando was supposed to be sinister and scary, like the mad colonel he played in "Apocolypse Now". In the latter, the words "I saw a snail walking on a straight razor" made my blood run cold. In the former, the immortal line: "I have seen the devil in my microscope and I have chained him'' just made me giggle more.
To make matters worse, later in the film, Kilmer dresses up just like Dr Moreau! Complete with pillow to simulate plumpness, white talcum power on the face and the WHITE RUBBER GLOVES!!!
Oh, dear viewers. The horror. The horror.
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